Daniel Ricciardo will look to continue building on the progress he’s made over the past two races at the upcoming Portuguese GP.
While Daniel Ricciardo may not have gotten off to a good a start as McLaren teammate Lando Norris for the 2021 Formula 1 season, finishing in the points during the first two races is nothing to scoff at.
As McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl mentioned, Ricciardo was expected to take some time adjusting to the setup of his new car and the workings of his new team. But while he may not quite look like the Ricciardo we all know, he is well on his way.
Adding to the difficulties that a driver expects while learning a new car, will be the challenges that the Portuguese GP presents as F1 returns to the Portimao track.
Last year saw drivers struggle for grip, as they skated around on a newly resurfaced circuit. Adding to that is the elevation changes and combination of slower speed corners. Unlike the fast tracks of the last two rounds at Bahrain and Imola.
“Up next is Portimao and I’m eager to get back in the car,” Ricciardo said. “Racing there is a lot of fun with the track having some unique elements that you don’t see at every race on the calendar.
“There’s a good mixture of high and low-speed corners with various changes in elevation that make it an exciting challenge. Coming out of some of the turns, you can really feel your stomach drop with the steep changes in gradient.”
Ricciardo expects improvement with more time behind the wheel
Ricciardo has been the first to admit that he is not yet up to scratch with the running of the car. However, it is something he is hoping to rectify as the season progresses.
McLaren have produced what so far looks like a good car, in the form of the MCL35M. The newly acquired Mercedes engine and gearbox seem to have improved the cars straight-line speed from 2020.
And, with both drivers finishing in the points at the first two races, combined with Norris’ third place at Imola, Ricciardo has seen just how much potential there is to get out of the car.
“This weekend, I want to keep building on the progress we’ve made in the first two races and put what we learned at Imola into practice. We’ve definitely started the season on the right foot by scoring good points for the Constructors’ Championship, so I can’t be too disappointed on that front.
“There are a few elements I’m still trying to get to grips with which is only going to get better with more time behind the wheel. Seeing Lando achieve a podium showed the potential of the car which is super motivating. We’re only three races in and there’s a lot more to come from me, so let’s keep it going.”